This may be a little lengthy, so bear with me. My wife and I choose this particular cruise because it was southern Caribbean and this particular ship because it was Carnival’s newest and largest, and because to us, the price was right. We flew into Miami March 1, 2014, the day we sailed because of prior engagements. I would recommend flying or arriving in Miami a day early, if possible.
When we arrived at Miami International Airport (MIA), we proceeded to the Carnival Kiosk for pre-check in. I would recommend this if you fly in and I would recommend purchasing the transfer from the airport to the port…it’s worth the money. The trip to the port was quick and painless. Be sure to have some money to tip your driver/baggage handler.
After arriving at the port, we went through security to make sure that no contraband was being smuggled onboard. They never checked our baggage at all…we must look honest. My friend did get his wine coolers confiscated. He wasn’t trying to hide them…he was planning on drinking them while we waited…oh well. It was a smooth operation. We were in the port waiting area by 11:30am, waiting to board at 1pm. Luckily for us, they actually allowed us to board early so we were onboard by 12pm. Our stateroom was ready so we were able to drop off our luggage. If you get there early, make sure you have a change of clothes in your carry-on so that you can get comfortable and start to enjoy the party.
Our room was forward inside so we had no porthole to look out. The room was actually larger than I expected…laid out in a very functional way. Our steward was extremely nice and kept our room clean. We had no issues there. He would always greet us in the morning or afternoon or evening, or whenever he was out in the hallway and would see us. He was always pleasant and smiling. We gave him a little extra tip…he was worth it. My recommendation for rooms is, get the upgrade if you want, or if you need to see outside. We chose not to because to us, a room is simply a place to sleep, dress and shower.
Our first day was at sea. I’ll be honest…it was rough and rocky. Even the crew was talking about how rough it was. Several folks were experiencing some queasiness…so was I. I was thinking that if it was like this all the time, I was going to be miserable for the next 8 days. But it wasn’t…it actually turned out to be pleasant. I went to the store and bought some Bonine…it worked. My recommendation here would be to buy your sea sickness meds before you board…cheaper that way.
First port was Grand Turk…beautiful island. Carnival has built a nice port area there with shopping and the largest Margaritaville in the world, if you are a Parrotthead…and I am. There are some excursions here that you can take, or you can wing it with a taxi to Cockburntown, if you want. We did, and it was 20 bucks a person. Not much really to see there except for some local shops and local eateries. You can shop for all you want at the port terminal. The beach is beautiful though…
Next stop was La Romana, Dominican Republic. If you want to see this town, you must take an excursion or taxi….nothing at the port area. We did take an excursion to a cigar factory…I found it very interesting. All cigars there completely rolled by hand. The rest of the excursion took us to the Altos De Chavon village which is a reproduction of an old Spanish village. There are a few shops there, and a couple of restaurants, and an open air amphitheater. I wasn’t impressed with this too much…maybe because our guide just wasn’t that good. ..All he wanted to do was to tell us that Elton John sang there a few years ago…that’s about it. What I wish we had done, and what we will do next time, is go into the city by taxi.
Next stop was Curacao. Willemstad is a really pretty place…you can really see the Dutch influence. You arrive in the afternoon, so you can shop and have a nice dinner there before re-boarding the ship. We chose to wing it there and just walk into the city. Lots of shopping to do, and excursions there too. Towards dinner time, we went to Scampi’s which is a sea front restaurant with a fantastic view of the ship and the sunset. I highly recommend Scampi’s for a meal. The ship looked awesome lit up at night. Here, I’d recommend sticking to the tourist areas after dark…Curacao is as safe as any place, but use caution, same as you would anywhere else…it’s an unfamiliar place to most.
Last port was Aruba…probably our favorite. We debarked and started walking. Aruba is another shopping mecca. If you are looking for jewelry, I’d recommend Sean Jewelers (seanpauljewelers.com) in Oranjestad, just a few minutes walking from the ship’s pier….great prices and exceptional service. We did take a “party bus” tour; it’s an open bus that takes you to several places on the island such as the California Lighthouse and Palm Beach, where you can swim. It usually takes about 2 hours. The drivers will let you off at the beach to swim if you want, but be mindful of the time so that you can get back to the ship when you are supposed to. There were a couple of folks that had to run to make it on time. We sat up top and laughed.
There are excursions at each port. My suggestion would be to research what you would like to do or see…if its snorkeling, or just lying on the beach. If you purchase through the ship, you will always be back on time. If you purchase on your own, again be mindful of the time you need to be back on the ship.
The rest of the time on the ship was at sea. This ship is so big, we didn’t get to see all of it. The Breeze has something for everyone…a basketball court, water slides, a casino, lots of seating areas both inside and out for sunning, 2 pools, several whirl pools, a workout area and a walking track. There are also several bars onboard with bartenders very willing to mix up your favorite cocktail. If you have kids, there is always something for them to do too.
At night there is a lot to do….several shows, karaoke, live bands, etc. Our nights were spent listening to #Rhythmnation, a cover band that plays anything, and they do it well. Also at night, we’d hit the comedy club shows, which are adult over 18 shows…if you are easily offended, don’t go. They were hilarious though. Pay attention to the “Fun Times”, which is a paper placed on your bed for the next day giving details of what all is available.
The food on board was delicious and it is true, you can eat all you want anytime of the day. I gained 9 pounds while on the cruise. Absolutely no complaints here. Our dinnertime waiters were the best…
I can’t say enough good things about the crew of the Breeze. From the Captain on down, they were the finest people I have ever met…so very helpful and knowledgeable. I will say this…watch Victor in the Front Street jewelry shop…he is definitely a smooth talker and will take your money…lol. All joking aside, he was a pleasure to deal with.
When we arrived back in Miami, you had 2 options of disembarking. You could self-disembark and try to handle all you baggage yourself, or you could tag your luggage, put it outside your door, and claim it the next morning after leaving the ship. If you do that, they give you a zone number and call you down by zone. The latter to me seems very efficient…we left the boat at 10:30am, claimed our luggage, went through customs, transferred back to MIA, and passed through airport security before 12noon. To me, that was very quick.
I’ve tried to think of some negative things to say…always try to balance a review. About the most negative thing I can say is there were some of the rudest people on board this boat…not the crew, but the passengers...like the lady who sat next to us at breakfast on the morning of debarkation, complaining because the tables weren’t cleared fast enough…saying things like, “It’s the last day…they don’t care now”, when I personally watched a crew member buss her table several times before she sat down…working as hard as he could. All she could do was complain and gripe at him. He handled it well though…much better than I would. He just said, “I’m sorry” and cleaned her table. I was ashamed to say she was from the US...
Lastly, I’d like to say thank you to Carnival and especially the crew of the Breeze, for spoiling us and making our first cruise a most enjoyable vacation. We were truly pampered and petted….We are already researching our next trip. Thanks again, Carnival Breeze!!